A fire at a downtown Salt Lake City building drew the attention of federal authorities. The fire broke out at a construction site downtown on February 9. A few days later, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spoke with a foreman on that construction project. The two reviewed a videotape that allegedly shows a man who officials suspected started the fire. The foreman fingered a worker on the project.
The worker, an electrician, is now charged with a federal crime. Authorities believe that the fire was started as an act of arson. The feds are pursuing the case under federal law. Federal arson charges can bring significant consequences, including lengthy prison time, if a person is convicted in court.
Federal authorities believe that the electrician was smoking Spice at the construction site. Officials say that the man admitted to lighting some cardboard on fire and discarding the lit cardboard underneath a bathtub. The tub was encased in cardboard and situated next to a wooden wall. A four-alarm fire erupted, causing about $6 million in damage, according to authorities.
Investigators claim that the electrician provided several differing stories during the course of the investigation. Ultimately, agents claim that the man explained that he may have “wanted to see the fire department” before the fire broke out, according to Deseret News. Federal officials arrested the man.
The Bountiful, Utah, electrician is facing a minimum of five years in federal prison, if convicted. He could serve up to 20 years.
When people think about a federal crime, it may be more common to think of white-collar offenses, federal drug crimes or crimes that occur across state lines. Federal jurisdiction may involve a wider range of offenses, which may also be subject to challenge in some circumstances. When a person is suspected of an offense in a criminal investigation, it is important for that person to consider seeking the assistance of legal counsel as soon as possible.
Source: Deseret News, “Bountiful man faces federal arson charge in Salt Lake apartment fire,” Pat Reavy, Feb. 19, 2014